By Russell Edge

2nd Dec, 2017 | 3:23pm

Benitez points finger in surprise claim after defeat v Chelsea

Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez has pointed the finger at individual mistakes for the reason behind their defeat to Chelsea on Saturday.

The Magpies slipped to a 3-1 loss at Stamford Bridge, despite having taken the lead against Antonio Conte’s side in the opening minutes of the clash.

Dwight Gayle was able to poke home into an empty net after a save from Thibaut Courtois deflected into his path, although the visitors were only able to maintain their lead for less than 10 minutes.

Eden Hazard’s shot from inside the box bounced over Karl Darlow, and Alvaro Morata turned the game on its head with a well taken header to ensure that the Blues went into half time with a 2-1 lead.

Conte saw his side extend their lead with 15 minutes left to play in the second half thank to Hazard’s second goal, coming from the penalty spot after Matt Ritchie had fouled Victor Moses.

However, Benitez surprisingly claimed that his side were always in the clash, despite having been dominated by the Blues in terms of possession and chances created, and said that the quality of Chelsea’s talent made the most of mistakes from his side.

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He told Sky Sports via the live matchday blog (02/12, 14:48) on their website: “Individual mistakes cost us. When you play against a good team, with the players and quality they have, you will be punished.

We were in the game and you never know what could happen. We played against a top side and gave everything, but these very good players make the difference.

“We will try to do our best now to fix things. The main thing is that we improve the little things to improve the team.”

The Magpies have now gone six games without a victory, having lost five and drawn one, which has seen them slide down the Premier League table.

In other Newcastle United news, fans were left raging with the display of this firm favourite in the defeat.

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